If you say that I ought to have spent my time in useful labour, I am out of Court and have nothing to say, save that my parents had no business to leave me two thousand pounds a year and a roving disposition. [p. 6]
I'm sure I've read this classic of swashbuckling pseudohistorical romance before, yet little seemed familiar.
Meanwhile, Black Michael's villainous but dashing henchman, Rupert of Hentzau, steals every scene he's in -- unlike the female characters (King Rudolph's fiancee Flavia, with whom Rudolf Rassendyll falls violently but chastely in love; Black Michael's scheming mistress Antoinette de Mauban, who makes some unpleasant discoveries about her lover) who are, period-typically, somewhat feeble and ruled by their hearts, rather than their heads.
Rudolf Rassendyll is not an especially likeable character, I have to say. But I'm glad I (re)read this, so that I could fully enjoy the delightful reimagining of KJ Charles' 'queered classic' version, The Henchmen of Zenda. Watch this space...